Honesty Is the Best Policy


Last Thursday night marked the first evening of my New York City staycation. My girlfriend Alexis and I went out for a night on the town. No friends. Just the two of us.

We were out to eat at a restaurant called Bakehouse in the Meatpacking District when one of my best friends Joe texted me about going out that night. My immediate reaction as a friend was to somehow make him part of our evening. I ran it by my girlfriend and she didn’t seem to have any issues with it, so I let Joe know our plans with the intention of meeting up at some point. Upon further discussion with my girlfriend, I realized how I quickly I was about to change the course of our romantic, fun evening without clearly thinking it through. I wanted to adhere to our original plan but had a sticky situation to fix without letting a friend down. Instead of texting Joe an excuse about why I suddenly didn’t want to hang out anymore (what A LOT of people would probably do), I called him and told him the truth. That’s what real friends do. Joe completely understood, and Alexis and I went on to enjoy an adventurous night.

Upon reflection of that series of events, I can’t help but relate the lesson I learned to the classic saying, “Honest is the best policy.” There’s just something about timeless adages that I like. I’ve heard them from all different sources (parents, grandparents, teachers, mentors, etc.) and held on to the ones that have resonated with me the most. Even though I may not fully comprehend their meanings yet, I like to use them when applicable to teach others a lesson that I hope they will carry with them.

Honesty is all about telling the truth regardless of the circumstances. It’s the best policy because it represents what you actually believe/feel at a particular moment or describes real actions you’ve taken in the past. Any response other than the truth wastes another person’s time. In a world where time is so precious, would you want someone to waste yours with some form of BS? I think not!

Honesty being the best policy is really put to the test when dealing with friends. The lines definitely get blurry (shout-out to Robin Thicke!) in certain situations. For example, a friend might ask you how he or she looks in a new outfit that you are not crazy about. Depending on your relationship with that person, you might smile and say they look great or straight up tell them you hate it. Or what if someone asks your opinion on a project they’ve put a lot of effort into? You truly think they’ve just been spinning their wheels, but at the same time you know how much they care about it. Does “honesty is the best policy” apply in these situations?

If it’s your best friend, you might be comfortable calling him or her out on something based on the trust you’ve built up over the years. If it’s an acquaintance or someone you would like to become friends with, you might fudge the truth. However, regardless of the situation, you can and should be honest. There’s definitely a way to highlight all the positive you see in something before pointing out areas of criticism. This constructive feedback not only puts you mentally at ease but is more beneficial to the person in the short and long term. If you really want to develop and maintain genuine relationships, honesty should be a vital part of the equation.

How do you feel about “Honesty is the best policy?” What are some adages that you live by?

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3 Responses to Honesty Is the Best Policy

  1. Pingback: Forget the News | The Life of Riley

  2. Pingback: The Struggle to Start a Side Business | The Life of Riley

  3. Pingback: 10 Lessons Learned from Gary Vaynerchuk | The Life of Riley

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